I miss Koh Tao. I want to sit under the big tree on the beach, it’s branches weaved with fairy lights and lanterns, watching the sunset from my table on the sand. As the lights drops below the ocean, the fire dancers would begin to practice in preparation for the larger crowds of parties later on. Citronella burning and a cold Chang in hand I would sit and chill after a day of diving, waiting for my absolute favourite dish, Thai pineapple fried rice served back inside the fruit, with coconut, cashews and huge king prawns. Having been swimming in the sea the citrus cuts through the saltiness perfectly and gives a sharp kick to balance out the tangy fish sauce and earthy cashews, perfect.
I’m almost glad I only discovered this really late on in my travels, if I had known, I would have been tempted to eat it nearly everyday in Thailand rather then trying the rich assortment of dishes the mainland and islands had to offer; from Pad Thai to Tom Yum to the variety of rich curries. The problem is most of them I really couldn’t do justice in my own kitchen. I either can’t get the herbs fresh enough, the spices just right or the hob hot enough! But this is fried rice simple, tasty and flamboyant.
- 2 tablespoons vegetable or stir fry oil
- ½ hulled fresh pineapple (cube the flesh but retain the shell)
- 3 spring onions, chopped
- 50g dessicated coconut
- 2 eggs, whisked
- handful of frozen peas
- 2 chopped cloves garlic
- 1 tsp of Thai fish sauce
- ½ cup chopped raw, unsalted cashews
- 200g basmati or thai jasmine rice
- ½ chicken stock cube/pot
- 50g salted cashew nuts
- 2 small chicken breasts, diced
- 1 tsp of thai green curry paste
- Soy sauce to serve
- Chopped coriander to garnish
First, dilute the chicken stock cube in boiling water in a large saucepan and add the rice. Boil in the dilute stock according to packet instructions (usually around 15 minutes). Once cooked, drain then rince with cold water to chill and drain again to remove as much water as possible. If preferred do this step well in advance or use any leftover rice from the fridge.
Meanwhile, grill the pineapple shell in the oven for around 10 minutes until the shell is starting to soften and the outer edges become browned and crispy. The remaining pineapple fruit/flesh will begin the caramelise!
Next, in a large wok (largest possible, it’s important to not overcrowd the pan!) heat the oil until nearly smoking then add the diced chicken, quickly followed by the curry paste to release the flavour and infuse the meat. Once just cooked and beginning to brown, add the spring onion, peas, coconut, garlic and pineapple. Fry on the highest possible heat for a few minutes to caramelise the fruit. Next, add the rice and fish sauce and heat through. Push everything to one side of the pan and add the eggs, spreading them across the pan surface and allowing them to get crispy before stirring into the rest of the mixture.
Season to taste then serve back in the grilled pineapple shell, scatter over the nuts and coriander. Serve and add soy sauce to taste to offset the sweetness of the fruit.